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Why interview feedback is a waste of time

2020-02-27T20:58:27+00:00February 27th, 2020|leadership|

A few years ago I wrote a series of posts on the subject of improving the interview process in schools: Part 1: A brief review of the evidence Part 2: Intuition vs. statistical prediction (in which I made suggestions for improving structured interviews) Part 3: The interview lesson I thought I'd said all I needed to say of the subject of school interviews. Then a few days ago I responded to a tweet about providing unsuccessful candidates with post-interview feedback suggesting it was a waste of time: Feedback on unsuccessful interviews is valueless. It’s all polite variants rationalising why your face [...]

Why feedback fails

2017-05-28T13:40:02+01:00January 10th, 2017|assessment|

Feedback is one of the few things in education that pretty much every agrees is important and worthwhile. The need for feedback is obvious: if you were expected to learn how to reverse park a car whilst wearing a blindfold you would be very unlikely to learn how to go about this without causing damage either to your car, or to the environment. In order to learn you would need to see where you were going and what happened when you turned the wheel. We get this sort of trial and error feedback all time; we act and then observe the effects of [...]

Less marking, more feedback: A challenge and a proposal

2016-12-01T16:18:59+00:00December 1st, 2016|leadership|

I've been arguing for some time that if teachers spent less time marking (by which I mean writing comments on students' work) then they might have a lot more time for giving meaningful feedback which actually helps develop more flexible, durable learning. This is a message that tends to play well with harried, over burdened teachers but often fills school leaders with horror. The fear is that because some teachers are lazy, good-for-nothing loafers they'll simply take this as an opportunity to shuttle off to the pub every evening and their students will be even more neglected. I can certainly understand [...]

The feedback continuum: why reducing feedback helps students learn

2016-11-21T23:27:50+00:00October 15th, 2016|learning|

The effects of feedback are more complex than we often realise. While expertise and mastery is unlikely to develop without feedback it's certainly not true to say that giving feedback results in expertise and mastery. There are few teachers who do not prioritise giving feedback and yet not all teachers' feedback is equally effective. My understanding of the effects of feedback has grown as I've come to accept and internalise the profound differences between 'performance' and 'learning'. If you're not clear on these, I've summarised them here. Hattie and Timperley point out that, "Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this [...]

Feedback and assessment are not the same

2016-07-11T21:18:46+01:00July 11th, 2016|assessment|

You don't figure out how fat a pig is by feeding it. Greg Ashman At the sharp end of education, assessment and feedback are often, unhelpfully, conflated. This has been compounded by the language we use: terms like 'assessment for learning' and 'formative assessment' are used interchangeably and for many teachers both are essentially the same thing as providing feedback. Clearly, these processes are connected - giving feedback without having made some kind of assessment is probably impossible in any meaningful sense and most assessment will result in some form of feedback being given or received - but they are not the same. [...]

Developing expertise #2 – Seek feedback

2016-06-30T11:09:32+01:00June 30th, 2016|training|

In my previous post I suggested the first step for teachers to develop expertise was to find ways to change the environment so that the feedback we get is unbiased. In this post we will consider why much of the feedback we do get is unhelpful and how to get more of the helpful stuff. Many of the decisions we take  - in life generally and as teachers - are based not on reason and logic but on vague, nebulous feelings of 'rightness'. Why did you buy the car you drive, the toothpaste you use, the shoes you wear? Why did [...]

Triple impact feedback on the EEF marking review

2016-11-30T14:14:09+00:00May 24th, 2016|Featured|

1.The EEF publish a review of the evidence of marking. 2. I give them some feedback. 3. The EEF respond to my criticisms. 4. Well... we could go on for ever. Feel familiar? James Richardson and Robbie Coleman, say they'd be happy "if people took the current lack of evidence on marking as the key finding of the report." So would I. Unfortunately, I don't think that will be the case. Teachers and school leaders are desperate to have their views validated and some will, I fear, latch on to the weakly evidenced "findings" the report offers. Now of course, absence of evidence [...]

Should students respond to feedback?

2015-11-30T12:46:27+00:00November 30th, 2015|assessment, leadership|

The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting. Fran Lebowitz One of the criticisms of my post about book monitoring is that I have omitted checks to see whether students have responded to feedback. This omission is entirely deliberate. Does this mean I don't care whether students respond to feedback? You might think this is a bit of a silly question - of course they should. After all, what's the point in giving feedback which will be ignored? Dylan Wiliam makes the following comment in my book: Sometimes the support we give to students may be emotional [...]

Could less marking mean more feedback?

2015-09-27T18:32:36+01:00September 27th, 2015|Featured|

Opportunity makes a thief. - Francis Bacon I wrote recently about the differences between marking and feedback. In brief, and contrary to popular wisdom, they are not the same thing; feedback is universally agreed to be a good bet in teachers' efforts to improve student outcomes whereas as marking appears to be almost entirely unsupported by evidence and neglected by researchers. Marking takes time Although there are some who dislike the use of the term opportunity cost being applied to education, there's no getting away from the fact that whilst we may be able to renew all sorts of resources, time is always finite. [...]

Marking and feedback are not the same

2016-05-24T13:47:04+01:00September 19th, 2015|workload|

Feedback is, we're told, the most powerfully important invention in which a teacher can engage, but marking students' books can be mind-numbingly tedious drudgery. Because of this tension, many schools have introduced strict marking policies and work scrutiny schedules to make sure that teachers don't shirk this crucial responsibility. But, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am becoming that marking and feedback are two quite separate things. Cambridge Dictionaries Online defines marking thusly: And here are two different definitions for feedback: Obviously, this doesn't prove anything other than that in the public mind, marking and feedback are considered [...]

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